Psalm 105 Reflection
Archdeacon Simon responds to Psalm 105 "In our diocesan Rule of Life we say that we are Called to Read, so that we may indeed ponder the loving kindness of the Lord. And we also say that we are Sent to Tell, so that we may make known the Lord’s deeds among the peoples. The two things are not so very far apart, after all, and both are to be found in this psalm."
If by some accident we lost the first few books of the Bible1, would we remember what God did for his people – what God did for us – in those first few centuries? Or would we forget?
If we still had Psalm 105, and 106 and 107, we would at least be reminded of some of the important points. The Psalmist writes these psalms to remind himself and others about how God has dealt with his people, so that we might remember what a great and loving God we have.
In fact in 1 Chronicles 16 we have an example of this psalm being used, perhaps for the first time, by King David and Asaph as a psalm of thanksgiving when the ark of the covenant is brought to Jerusalem. In that chapter about half this psalm is quoted in full, along with parts of Psalm 96 and 106. We see at this time of celebration how we use these psalms to remind ourselves of God’s blessings, to give thanks, and to look forward to blessings in the future.
The Psalmist picks out the core of the story up to his time: Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. God loves his people and chooses them, in Abraham. God preserves his people and in the life of Joseph he shows how he can bring blessings out of disaster. God is redeeming his people, and in the life of Moses, and the Exodus of the people, he shows that he has the power to save.
As the Psalmist says at the end of Psalm 107, whoever is wise will ponder these things, and consider the loving-kindness of the Lord.
Every time we read the Bible, whether worshipping together like King David and the people, or in our own secret room, we have the opportunity to ponder these things, and consider the loving kindness of the Lord.
But if you lost your Bible, would you remember? Could you tell the story of what God has done for his people, and for you.
My challenge to you this week is to practice telling the story. Do what the Psalmist does: pick out the two, or three, or four people, or events, or teachings that tell the story, and boil them down into something you can remember. Make the story your own, so that God’s loving-kindness is not just on the page but on your heart and your lips.
Make the story something that is your own. You can do that with the story of how God has dealt with the whole world, and you can do it with the story of God has dealt with you. How has he brought you to a place of faith – or, if you are still on the way to faith, how is he leading you? What are the main events? Who have been the key people?
In our diocesan Rule of Life we say that we are Called to Read, so that we may indeed ponder the loving kindness of the Lord. And we also say that we are Sent to Tell, so that we may make known the Lord’s deeds among the peoples. The two things are not so very far apart, after all, and both are to be found in this psalm.
If we do the reading we will be better equipped to do the telling. If we do the remembering, and make the story our own, we will have done even better.
1(Genesis and Exodus, and perhaps Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy)
Psalms Summer Reading Challenge
Join Archdeacon Simon in this year’s Summer Challenge reading the book of Psalms together. Sign up to this course and you will receive weekly emails encouraging you in your reading. The Psalms are the hymnbook and the prayerbook of the Temple, and of the Church. In these 150 songs the Psalmist explores the whole range of human experience, with all its highs and lows, of human life lived in the presence of God, and sometimes the experience of the apparent absence of God too. Find out more about the challenge and how you can get involved.Course 19 PartsTotal current bookmarks 12